Saturday, 2 April 2011

TV Week in Review: 27th March-3rd April (and leftovers from last week)

It’s been a fairly good week, a few episodes that are quite good but a TON of brilliant performance which always makes me glad. I’ve got some left over comedies from last week that were worthy of note, somewhat, so here goes.
Modern Family: “Boys' Night”
Only now caught up on the latest episode of Modern Family, and it’s fairly solid but nothing special for me. It’s a series of interesting arcs, but they don’t pack as much as a punch as I’d hope though it gives Mitchell a nice chance to get some actual character development done. Seeing Jay “bond” with the guys is hilarious and that entire sequence is funny, even if the “resolution” is a bit too on the nose from the Gloria. It’s the same way that Luke’s new friend turns into a not-so-grumpy old man. It’s sweet, but a bit saccharine at times. But, that closing was a killer. Nice to see the very funny Reid Ewing back as Haley’s boyfriend and I love those moments where characters you don’t usually see together bond – like her and Cam.

Community: “Critical Film Studies”
Another stellar episode from the Community crew. Jeff’s been so bland as a character lately so I like that he has this episode that serves as an interesting delve into his characters which has Danny Pudi (who was formerly my favourite supporting player) doing fine work. The one-sided commiseration of Cougar Town (which I miss terribly) was hilarious. I admit, at first the machinations of the group weren’t working for me, I was antsy for more Jeff and Abed – and then Troy went berserk, Abed went sane (which is actually berserk) and the episode ends with a brilliant close. Good stuff.
30 Rock: “Plan B”
Well, Tracy’s coming back. Yay. If you know me, you know I’m less enthused about this and it’s a bit of a limp episode for me – the main arc, at least. Will Arnett’s return is fine and he does some good stuff upset Jack, but otherwise feels especially filler-esque. Tina is being a trooper, and she does try but it ends up feeling a bit too full of gags and without real hooks.
[ B-]
Nurse Jackie : “Game On”
As much as I’ll continue to admire the steps that Nurse Jackie makes in terms of taking the half hour-serial to a higher level, I’ll never understand why it’s considered to be a comedy. Its return is a case-in-point – a fine episode, a great way to return but one that thrives so brilliantly on the dramatic beats. Falco is in her usual good form and the rapport among the supporting cast is strong as usual. The second half doesn’t pack as strong a punch as the first, but it’s ultimately a top-notch return even though, nothing much really happens which is something I like about the show, usually – it always does take it slowly. Still, four minutes of recapping what happened last was a bit too much.
United States of Tara: “...youwillnotwin...”
It’s not the same with United States of Tara, there’s a host of plot development but the episode isn’t brilliant – although it is a good episode. Tara’s return to college will be interesting to watch, and Collette shines in little moments like that meeting with the professor. As per normal, though, it’s Rosemarie DeWitt I’m more interested and she’s in fine form as usual even if [ ] is still ridiculous. There’s not an excess of focus on the children but both shines in their little moments – Larson is especially on-point in a funny interview scene. It’s the ending that strikes the strongest chord – a nice moment of “unity”.

Parenthood: “Taking the Leap”
It’s an episode of good and not-so-good. Julia and Joel were the highlight of the episode, even if they still don’t get the A storyline (which is exasperating). That closing scene with the two is so brilliantly played, and I wish they’d given Christensen more to do to bring it home. Still, the two remain as the show’s most authentic pairing. Mae Whitman, too, is especially good this episode and I love that her college searching doesn’t turn into something too fanciful. The Crosby/Jasmine arc is become really awkward, as is the one with Adam/Kristina. I’m not sure how Sarah story is going to pan out, it could go either way – but I was hoping that Jason Ritter would return. I’m still waiting.

The Good Wife: “Killer Song”
I recently caught up to speed on this show, but I wasn't sure if I'd watch this week episode...then I saw it open with Archie Panjabi (who easily wins for series MVP for me) so I continued watching. Julianna Marguiles aside – I just can’t love her - The Good Wife succeeds because it’s more serial in nature than every other CBS procedural. There’s a striking sense of continuity and the acting is excellent. America Ferrera’s guest turn this episode is well executed, and the court scenes continue to have that zing that used to mark the original Law & Order and its peak. And of course the focus on Kalinda is much appreciated by me, though it’s worrying what will happen when Alicia finds out. To get ethical, though, so the guilty man gets 30 years in an institution for one murder where he gets “mentally better”. I can’t help but feel he shouldn’t be tried for another murder he may not have been found guilty of before. Am I alone?

Grey’s Anatomy: “The Song Beneath the Song”
I didn’t even get wind that there was going to be a musical episode of the show until Wednesday – which goes to show that I should probably start paying attention to previews. Well, I love Sara Ramirez – I continuously play her numbers from “Spamalot” so it’s nice to see her work with those pipes – but the episode isn’t quite spectacular. It’s biggest issues is too much singing, so the episode ends up being obstructed and buttressed by the musical numbers, for the most part. Only Sara (and Wilson to some extent) ends up making the song work as a “acting” exercises and not just good singing. It’s an interesting plot, so I almost wish there wasn’t any singing so we could have seen more of Capshaw and Dane doing fine work – the latter of who I never thought had it in him.

Private Practice: “The Hardest Part”
It’s another fairly good episode of Private Practice sorely lacking in Audra and Addison. It sort of functions as the episode that should be Tim Daly’s calling card, but I find him terribly bland of an actor. So, the episode ends up getting its goodness from the guests mostly – the best of which is the piano prodigy who offers up an interesting arc. Nothing significant happens, but this episode makes me think that whenever Audra does leave the show for good (sigh) Kadee Strickland will be my MVP – she’s just so good, even in her small scenes.
Standout Writing
Nurse Jackie: A-
The Good Wife: A-
United States of Tara: B+

Standout Performances
Rosemarie DeWitt in United States of Tara A
Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie A-
Archie Panjabi in The Good Wife B+/A-
Toni Collette in United States of Tara B+
Joel McHale in Community B+
Alan Cummings in The Good Wife B+
Jesse Tyler Ferguson in Modern Family B+

Sara Ramirez in Grey's Anatomy B/B+
Sam Jaegar in Parenthood B/B+
Peter Facinelli in Nurse Jackie B/B+
Brie Larson in United States of Tara B/B+
What did you watch this past week on TV – new HBO premieres? ABC Thursday? Joe Reid’s tweeting (he’s hilarious) made me tune in for Idol this week, but I’m really disinterested in the shown and couldn’t care to recap...should I tune in again next week?


CrazyCris said...

I'm with you on Kalinda being the MVP for the Good Wife! She's definitely the most interesting character (and best brought to life) of the bunch!

As for Grey's "musical event", much as I wanted to love it, it left me feeling a bit "blah". Except for Sara's final number.

I had much more fun with Castle and Justified than anything else on this week! :o)

Robert said...

Yayayay! I am in complete agreement with you on the US of Tara. Good episode, it was more plot than substance though which is fine for the pilot. I loved Larson in that interview scene and Rosemarie Dewitt is just amazing.

TomS said...

I was at my parents' house for a visit, and the TV was on as background noise.. I heard the singing on Gray's Anatomy, and as I saw it out of the corner of my eye, I thought, "Wow, this is a really gory episode of "Glee"!

Jose said...

Gimme more Queen of Jordan! Keep Tracy in Fauxfrica!